Blue Terras See Red After Gray Day
Depleted Weymouth came crashing down to earth in an incident-packed clash with pre-season relegation favourites, Chelmsford City at New Lodge.
Their FA Cup heroics at Chippenham were just a distant memory as two last-gasp goals condemned them to first defeat in five outings.
The Terras, who were without five recognised defenders, had looked good for a point despite Michael Dean missing a first-half penalty after former Northern Ireland international, Phil Gray, had given City an early lead.
The Terras got off to a disastrous start with the Essex side going ahead with less then two minutes on the clock, Mark Rawlinson sold goalkeeper Jason Matthews short with a suicidal back pass, intercepted by Tony Samuels, he controlled before rounding the stranded gloveman and squaring for Gray to side foot into an empty net.
The shell-shocked Dorset men thought they’d earned an equalising opportunity moments later when new boy Charles charged into the penalty area where he appeared to bundled over by defender Ian Wiles, but despite the momentary bunting tossing by the linesman, referee Mark Ives, well away from the incident, over ruled his assistant and waved play on.
Chelmsford had the better of the opening exchanges and Samuels wasted a good chance to extend their lead when he shot wide in the sixth minute.
The visitors responded when Lee Phillips turned his marker just outside the box but failed to get the better of advancing keeper Paul Nicholls.
Chelmsford always looked the more likely going forward and it took a superb Rawlinson tackle on 23 minutes to deny the experienced Gray.
Samuals then outpaced Simon Browne before seeing his close-range thunderbolt shave the top of the cross bar, while Danny Slatter stabbed wide from a decent position.
Somehow the visitors hung on although Ashford, who was playing ala Rowbotham, picked up what would prove to be a decisive booking after a tangle with Lee Kersey.
The Terras were handed a lifeline on 37 minutes when they were awarded a spot kick after Phillips had been obstructed on the edge of the six-yard area, Rawlinson and Dean exchanged pleasantries and Rawly gave dead ball expert Dean the chance of earning some monies via the goal bonus system, Deano obvious is not hungry for money as he blasted the ball straight at a grateful Nichols.
However, debutant Charles made up for the error when he pulled his side level on the stroke of half-time. Ian Hutchinson curled a stunning free kick that rebounded off the angle right and there was the ex-Brentford man to bury the loose ball from close range.
So at half time the score was: Chelmsford City 1 Weymouth 1
Having got themselves back into contention, the visitors then suffered a hammer blow on 57 minutes when a late challenge by hot-headed Ashford earned him a second yellow card.
Butler felt that the game was there to be won as he pulled off the disappointing Dean and Charles to replace them with Whiteman and Sajic.
City reverted to the long ball game as they looked to secure the points but ten-man Weymouth battled hard at the back and managed to absorb plenty of pressure.
A point would have been good business for the Terras and that looked inevitable after Matthews pulled off a great save from Gray in the 85th minute.
But it all went horribly wrong a minute from time when Samuels broke down the left and pulled a great ball back to into the path of Gray who smacked it first time from 20-yards into the top right hand corner.
And City then rubbed salt into Weymouth’s wounds when Ben Fuller’s cross beat Matthews and was tapped in at the far post by the goal poaching Samuels.
So at the final whistle the score was:
Chelmsford City 3 Weymouth 1
Top Terra: Ian Hutchinson
This was the old Weymouth that we know and hate, long ball, hit and hope, absolutely dire. To be fair, it was a patched up side which, on a normal day would not have asked Simon Browne to play, but with a player of Sajic’s quality on the bench in favour of the unimpressive Ashford, questions will be asked on the terraces.
Paul Nicholls, Brian Statham, Ian Cousins (Steve Sanders 73), Lee Kersey, Ian Wiles, Danny Slatter ( Ben Fuller 72), Garry Cross, Mike Rutherford (c), Tony Samuels 1, Phil Gray 2, Austin Berkley.
Subs not used: Sam Keevill, Kris Lee, Barry Lakin
Goals: Gray 2, 88, Samuels 90
Jason Matthews, Steve Tully, Simon Browne (c), Gethin Jones, Ryan Ashford, Mark Rawlinson, Mark Robinson, Ian Hutchinson, Michael Dean (Michael Sajic 63), Julian Charles 1 (Marc Whiteman 64), Lee Phillips.
Subs not used: Lance Spencer, Carl Mutch
Goal: Charles 44
Sent off: Ashford 57
Referee: Mark Ives ( Biggleswade )
Assistants: Mike Debens ( Gidea Park ), John Wallace ( Dagenham )